The National Concerned Small Scale Miners Association of Ghana (NCSSMAG) has endorsed the campaign of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its flag bearer John Dramani Mahama for the upcoming December polls.
According to the association, the decision to endorse the NDC and its flagbearer follows a careful interrogation of the manifestoes of the two front-running political parties in the upcoming elections and the attitudes of their respective governments towards the small scale mining sector in the last eight years.
This was revealed in a statement issued by NCSSMAG, co-signed by its President Michael Kwadwo Peprah, Secretary Ebenezer Ayehu and Public Relations Officer (PRO) Raphael Danquah on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
The association described the 2020 manifesto of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as "virtually empty of plans for small-scale mining and suggests to us, a deliberate attempt to collapse the business and cede it to its apparatchiks.”
On the contrary, the 2020 NDC manifesto "is one that inspires hope for the small scale mining sector, with clear-cut plans to revive the fallen industry,” the association indicated.
It emphasised that it cannot “take for granted, the NDC’s promise to equip our industry with tools and equipment, including excavators and their parts to aid us to work smoothly to recoup our lost investments under its Co-operative Mining policy and the promise to help us retrieve our excavators that were seized by this government, welcoming also the NDC’s promise to give us loans to invest in and revive our business."
The association continued: “The NDC has a superior plan for the small scale mining sector and we cannot sit on the fence while the party canvasses for votes to get elected to implement its beautiful ideas".
Citing more reasons for the endorsement, the association said: “We cannot forget the two bad years of the ban on all forms of small scale mining activities by the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo which rendered us hopeless and saddled with debts, broke our homes and sent many of us to the grave.
"It is evident that the onslaught against our trade in those two bad years, under the guise of protecting our environment and water bodies by this government, yielded no results; what pertains today is worse than what the government claimed to have wanted to salvage.”
It also indicated that: “the small scale mining sector, after the lifting of the ban has been under siege by functionaries of the NPP and government, who have taken over our concessions and cancelled our licenses.
“Today, the so-called community mining is being operated by foreigners, especially the Chinese, under the endorsement of the current administration, while locals wallow in poverty in the various mining districts.”
The association further continued that: “the infamous missing excavators scandal, which remains also a mystery that is yet to be unravelled by this government and its so-called Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) cannot be lost on us.”
It noted that based on the reasons highlighted, it is declaring its “unwavering support for the NDC and candidate John Mahama” and impressed upon its “members across the country to fall in line.”
The association also revealed that it has “committed one thousand two hundred (1,200) pickup vehicles at the full expense of the NCSSMAG to touch base with at least one million non-member small scale miners at their various mining sites to sell to them the message of the NDC and get them to vote in the upcoming elections in an operation dubbed “OPERATION VISIT 1 MILLION SITES”.
The association further disclosed that on Election Day, 7 December 2020, it will also make available a number of vehicles and “set up a task force to assist our members and their households to go out in their numbers to vote for the NDC to ensure the victory that would rescue the mining sector from the rape and looting under the current regime and hand it over to Ghanaians."
The association says it believes "that Ghana will work again under John Dramani Mahama and the NDC.”